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Formula 1: Advantage Verstappen for championship run-in

Lewis Hamilton's hopes of winning a record eighth Formula 1 drivers' championship took a knock in Texas and things might get worse for the Mercedes man at the Mexican Grand Prix.

Hamilton arrived at the Circuit of the Americas - a track where his Mercedes team have a dominant recent record - as favourite to regain the lead in the title race.

However, despite leading the early stages and then staging a late-race charge, the British veteran was forced to settle for second place behind his title rival Max Verstappen.

It was a timely boost for Verstappen, who had suffered his longest drought of the season - three races without a win. To boot, Mercedes had won the previous two races, having taken just one victory in the previous ten.

But things can change quickly in F1 and Red Bull racer Verstappen is now a 4/6 chance to score his ninth win of the season in Mexico City.

Already leading the championship by 12 points with five races to go, another win for Verstappen would put Hamilton firmly on the back foot and the Dutchman is a 4/9 shot to win his first world title this year, with his English rival 7/4.

Max's happy memories of Mexico

While COTA had been a Mercedes circuit prior to this year, Mexico City has favoured Red Bull in recent seasons.

Verstappen won the race in 2017 and 2018, and set the fastest qualifying lap the last time F1 visited two years ago, only to be penalised for exceeding track limits. Additionally, his then-team-mate Daniel Ricciardo took pole position for the 2018 race.

Red Bull's case is further bolstered by the fact that Mercedes have not claimed pole position in Mexico City since 2016.

Verstappen is rated 4/6 to be fastest in qualifying and 4/6 to win the race, however it may not be a straightforward open-and-shut case.

Hamilton has two victories of his own in Mexico, in 2016 and 2019. And while his results may have been unimpressive in the two visits in between, he did enough in those races to collect the points he needed to seal the 2017 and 2018 world titles in front of the Mexican crowd.

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Perez hoping for a happy homecoming

It has been an inconsistent season for Verstappen's Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez, but he arrives for his home race in peak form.

Checo made podium appearances in Turkey and Texas in the last two races to move up to fourth place in the drivers standings, and the vocal fans will be expecting nothing less than to see their hero spraying the sparkling wine again on Sunday.

However, Perez doesn't have the greatest record at the track - he has finished no higher than seventh there in five appearances - and competition is likely to be fierce for a place on the podium.

Bottas not expecting further grid-drop misery

Valtteri Bottas has been given grid penalties at three of the last four races after having to change engine parts, but he should have enough spares in his inventory now and will be eager to show his true form.

The Finn has done pretty well in the circumstances, climbing from 19th on the grid to third in Italy, 16th to fifth and Russia and finishing sixth in Texas last time after starting ninth. In between times he won in Turkey from pole position, setting the fastest lap of the race along the way.

Bottas' form has been much better in the second half of the season, and ironically some of his best outings have come since he was informed his services will no longer be required by Mercedes next season.

Hamilton's laconic team-mate has three top-three finishes in the last five races, while his form in Mexico is none too shabby either, also reading three podiums from five attempts and he's 13/8 to stand on the rostrum again on Sunday.

Old rivals writing more history

Formula 1 history is littered with tales of battles between McLaren and Ferrari, and while the iconic foes aren't in the constructors' championship hunt this year, they are having a terrific scrap for a very lucrative third place.

McLaren hold the edge by three-and-a-half points, helped immensely by their 1-2 finish at Monza, but Ferrari have been the more consistent in the second half of the season.

Mexico City - a high-altitude track - has a habit of levelling the field to a degree and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc will be aiming high.

Leclerc claimed pole positions in Monaco and Baku, and led into the latter stages at Silverstone and Istanbul and the Monegasque driver is 14/1 to be fastest qualifier this weekend, and 2/1 to secure a podium finish in the race.

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